(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Sky Pony Press on September 6, 2016
Genres: Dating & Sex, Family Life, Parents, Social Issues, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.
So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).
As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.
Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.
This was probably a 2.5 star read for me. I was kind of hoping for something light and fun when I read the title and saw the cover, but this was actually a bit heavier than I was expecting… and I did have a couple of issues with the plot.
Renley is in a pinch… she wants to go join her math club on a trip to New York but in order to do it, she needs $3000. Something she can’t ask her dad for, and she certainly can’t talk to her mom about it. So her big plan? Start a “How To” Blog… but when the topics go from ‘How to do a waterfall braid’ to things a bit more risqué things start to unravel. This is the part where I had a huge issue… who in their right mind is going to pay someone for information they can easily google? I feel like the whole premise of her blog was kind of ridiculous so that really caused an issue for me. Add to the fact that she really put no effort at all into it and yet gained a massive following in just days/weeks …well, that just didn’t work at all. Thankfully that’s not all that this book is about and some of the other plot points managed to save things a bit.
Like I said, this wasn’t as light as the summary might make you think… there’s a lot of inattentive parents, missing parents, bad choices and things that make this seem a whole lot heavier than expected.
Renley isn’t well-known at school, but when Seth, the hottest guy in school starts paying attention she suddenly is way more invested in this guy than she should be. He doesn’t know about her blog though, and when she needs help with it she leans on her best friend and neighbor Drew. Drew, who has crushed on her for so long and hasn’t kept it secret. But Renley isn’t willing to lose him as a friend on the chance that a relationship maybe would work between them. It doesn’t help that Drew is the biggest player around and she is worried she’d just be another notch in his bedpost.
Renley also has abandonment issues she has to work through. Her mom up and left for NYC after divorcing her dad, and she now has a new family and no time at all for Renley and at her age, a girl just sometimes needs her mom. Her dad’s girlfriend isn’t someone she wants to lean on either.
Ultimately, I felt bad for Drew and he honestly was the only one that I really ended up caring about in the end. I liked him and wanted better for him, and I really didn’t think that was Renley.
Like I said, there’s a lot of things going on in this story. There is a dreaded love triangle so be warned about that if you try to stay away from those, and the many issues all seem to weave together well for a somewhat enjoyable ending.